COCHRANE—The Cochrane Crush wrapped up its season with a win over the Foothills Little League team on Saturday (Aug. 15), winning the championship game and closing out the season on a high note.
The boys in orange soundly defeated the competition this year, finishing the season with a record of 10-2-1.
Head coach and president of Cochrane Minor Ball, Corey O’How, said he was happy with the way the kids played, and with the way the season went.
“I think we knew it was going to be a competitive game, and that they were going to throw their best pitchers, and we were going to do the same,” he said. “We knew that it would probably be a close game, and probably a fast game, and it was both of those things.”
The game was a close one. The Crush managed to open up the game with one run in the bottom of the first, but wouldn’t get a runner home again until the fourth inning.
Cochrane’s defense, on the other side of things, managed to keep the Foothills batters at bay until the top of the fifth, when they managed to get one runner across home plate.
“It was a good game, it was close, and the kids kind of came out on top because they started hitting the ball,” O’How said.
The Crush brought two more runners home in the fifth, and that was all she wrote. The game closed out with a score of 6-1 for the Crush.
Although the boys came away from the season champions, Saturday’s victory was bittersweet for the young players, who would normally have moved on to divisional play.
Kids in this age category would normally make a run at the Little League World Series, said O’How.
On a normal year, without the restrictions imposed by COVID-19, they would go to divisional play, a provincial tournament, the winner of which would move onto a national tournament in Victoria, B.C., and then move onto Williamsport, Pennsylvania for the Little League World Series.
Earlier in the season, O’How said that he felt this group of kids had a good chance of making it all the way to Pennsylvania for the World Series.
“I think we had a really good strong team,” he said. “Lots of depth of pitching and hitting. We felt we had a good chance of winning Alberta, and getting to the national championship. Once you get there anything can happen,” he said. “The biggest thing, when you get to those tournaments is experience, which our kids have had playing in championship games in the past, and then just the depth, which we have as well. We have a real tough line-up right from top to bottom.”
O’How noted that he had received compliments from the Foothills coaches, that they don’t get “any batter off,” that their pitchers don’t have to worry about.
In addition to their talented hitters, the Crush pitch a mean game, and play tight defense.
“We’ve got four or five kids that would be a starting pitcher on any team,” O’How said.
All in all, the victory for the youngsters was one of ambivalence— A championship victory, in a season cut short.
“The kids are a little disappointed this year, losing out on that opportunity,” he said. “The kids were excited that they won, they get bragging rights moving forward into next year, but I think, yeah, they were definitely disappointed that they didn’t really get a chance to put their skills on display for everyone to see.”
Many of the kids are old enough to play on a U15 team, and Baseball Alberta was supposed to start a new team that the kids would qualify to play on, but that program has been postponed until 2021.
Meanwhile, Cochrane Minor Baseball will continue to build its program, O’How said.“All the parents and kids that we talked to had fun, and are glad they played. Everyone in Cochrane Minor Baseball worked really hard to get a season going, and I think it turned out pretty good,” he said.